All Together Now – help shape FE & Skills to meet business need

by | Apr 18, 2009 | Articles

Can I thank all members for their input and support for the All Together Now community, which we set up to gather ideas and experiences to help shape the future of learning across the FE and Skills sector. 

Update 6th April 2010 –  A message to all members of All Together Now – site now to be closed

There has been ongoing discussions and experiences shared via blogs, discussion forums and videos which has been really helpful.  This has fed into the refresh of the Harnessing Technology implementation plan for FE and Skills, now available at www. www.becta.org.uk/publications/nglplan.  We feel that the initial purpose of the community has been achieved and therefore the site will be taken down in the next few days.

Members may also be interested to see the latest set of statistics showing progress made with harnessing technology across the sector.  These were released on 31 March and can be found at http://research.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=rh&catcode=_re_os_sc_03&rid=17752.  An analysis of these trends will be published in the summer.

A range of other fora exist for continuing discussion, including:
Becta online communities:
http://collaboration.becta.org.uk/community/feandskills
The Learning Revolution online community: www.thelearningrevolution.ning.com
LLUK Social Media and Lifelong Learning: http://sociallearningonline.wordpress.com/

 Original message

Times are tough and we need to make the most of the skills opportunities that are available yet many businesses do not engage with their local FE & Skills providers despite the fact that over £11bn a year is invested in this sector on our behalf.  Why? To date provision has perhaps not been relevant enough, flexible enough or responsive to changing business needs.  Times are changing – the Sector Skills Councils have been established to ensure that learning is more relevant on their sector’s behalf ( find your SSC here).

And now, Siôn Simon MP, Minister for Further Education,at the Department for Innovation, University and Skills (DIUS) wants to hear directly from you about what FE & Skills delivery needs to look like moving forward.The Department are welcoming suggestions for a bold vision of the future that meets the needs of  employers, providers and learners and have invited us to respond.

So what you might say!  Since when have actual employers and commercial providers of learning technologies had any say in this area before?  Well technologies are breaking down more than just the obvious barriers and they are providing us with a voice that we have not had before. All Together Now has been established to provide an equal platform for everyone to air our thoughts on what FE & Skills could look like in the future.

Stuart Edwards, Deputy Director responsible for learning quality and systems at DIUS welcomes the relevance of our experience and contribution to their vision for 2020:

We would be very keen to learn about leading-edge examples of how employers are using e-learning to bring real business benefits and any innovative plans for future development.  I would also be very interested in employers’ views on what a FE and Skills system that harnesses technology to its full potential could look like in future.” .

DIUS have put together some opening propositions on where things could be heading for FE & Skills towards 2020 and how that compares with evidence of where the sector is overall at the moment. Many businesses are working on aspects of Dius’s vision for FE&Skills provision  today – please make sure Sion Simon hears about it!

Where can i find out more?

On the All together Now site you can see the 5 areas that form aspects of a vision for the future, each illustrated by a number of statements highlight the implications for the way learners and business are supported

  • Content and digital resources – eg A mixed economy exists of materials freely available and purchased through subscription
  • Blogosphere, social media, web 2 – eg New media can be used to help providers and employers share content
  • Provider and workforce capability eg – Providers work in partnership with other providers, schools and employers to deliver training when and where learners want it.
  • Learner experience – eg Online delivery has transformed learner choice of formal and informal learning to meet their individual need
  • Employers  – eg Employers are able to respond rapidly to challenges of global competition through tailored just in time learning solutions that impact productivity, innovation and speed to market.

These are just a few of the statements are here but the full list can be found in full at http://altogethernow.ning.com/.

  • Does this vision go far enough to reflect the needs of business in the future?
  • What else should it be addressing?
  • What key actions need to be taken or barrier’s removed

Towards Maturity will be responding to some of these areas based on the research and community contributions that represent how business is going about change but All Together Now provides us all individually with an opportunity to have our say by both commenting on DIUS’s current position and adding new discussions over the next 2 months ( May/June).

http://altogethernow.ning.com/

 We have been invited to have our say – lets make sure we are heard!

 As the minister for further education, I want to hear your views about how things like social media can help us all learn, whether for work or pleasure. I see how young people are using technology to organise their lives, campaign on important issues and pursue shared interests. I want to make sure that colleges and training providers understand and learn from this new cultureIt’s time to open up the conversation. I want your ideas. I want you to really challenge our thinking about what technology will mean for learning in the future. This is a chance for you to influence the future of learning.

Siôn Simon MP
Minister for Further Education

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